A win today would ensure Northern State its first winning season in seven seasons, and keep the Wolves in the hunt for a North Division title.
Northern State (5-4, 5-4) will host Minnesota-Crookston (1-8, 1-8) at 1 p.m. today at Swisher Field in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference college football game. The Wolves are currently 4-1 in North Division play and share the NSIC North Division lead with Minnesota-Duluth and Bemidji State.
The Wolves are coming off a record-setting 65-17 win over the University of Mary last Saturday. The 65 points broke the school record of 64, which was set twice and most recently against Crookston in 2005 — the last winning season for the Wolves.
“For a couple of weeks now, we have been talking about finishing the entire game and that was really fun to finally put it together as a team,” NSU senior wide receiver Chris Morton said. “When you put that many points up, it is pretty fun. As an offense, that is what you try to do every week.”
Morton had his best game of the season last week with six catches for 148 yards and three TD receptions. He was one of three NSU receivers to get 100 receiving yards or more. Mark Hanley hauled in 10 passes for 140 yards and Jordan Piatz added eight catches for an even 100 yards. NSU QB Jared Jacobson finished with 422 passing yards.
“All three facets were going well,” NSU coach Tom Dosch said. “We were giving (Jacobson) plenty of time with our offensive line. Receivers were getting open and making plays and Jared was making throws on time. When you get that rhythm and get that good feeling offensively, then it kind of becomes contagious after awhile.”
The Wolves, who are on a two-game winning streak, will try to keep it rolling today against the Golden Eagles. NSU will honor its 10 seniors prior to the game.
“With it being Senior Day and my last game at Swisher Field,” Morton said, “I know myself and the other seniors are going to lay it all down on the line and try to give everybody there a good show and try to keep rolling like we are.”
Crookston is currently on a five-game losing streak. The Golden Eagles lost to Minnesota-Duluth 38-14 last week. Crookston’s lone win is against Southwest Minnesota State, which handed NSU its only home loss this season. It was Crookston’s first NSIC victory since it defeated Minnesota State-Moorhead in 2008.
“They have done something we haven’t done, which is beat Southwest State,” Dosch said. “They are really a scary team when you look at their talent all the across the board.”
Crookston’s RB Richard Haley is second in the league in rushing yards with 922 yards and has scored four rushing TDs this season. The 6-foot, 205-pound Haley rushed for a career-high 238 yards on 34 carries while adding three touchdowns in the win against Southwest.
“He is really as a good of a back as we will see in awhile,” Dosch said.
Haley definitely will be the No. 1 priority of the Wolves’ defense. What will be the keys offensively for the Wolves today?
“We are just going to keep doing what we do best and just keep rolling,” Morton said.
NSU leads the all-time series 12-1. The Wolves won last year’s meeting 45-21 in Aberdeen. . . . Today’s forecast calls for mild conditions with highs in the mid-50s. Mostly cloudy skies with winds out of the south/southeast at 5-15 mph. . . . Jacobson is the only quarterback in the league with more than 2,000 passing yards and 400 rushing yards. The sophomore has passed for 2,157 yards and rushed for 467 rushing yards.